Saturday, March 23, 2013

RTE stock taking

RTE stock taking

Aaditi Isaac, TNN Jul 2, 2012, 05.36AM IST

To take stock of the status of the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and to identify issues that need urgent attention, a convention was held by the RTE forum. AMBARISH RAI, national convenor, RTE Forum talks to Aaditi Isaac
The deadline for the implementation of the RTE Act is fast approaching, where do we stand?
This Act was made for 250 million children. After two years of the enactment of the Act, we are still struggling with problems in implementation at the grassroots level. Reports state that 95% of schools are not complying with the RTE laws. At the grassroots, there is a lack of teachers, infrastructure; schools are not friendly towards the differentlyabled students, appropriate age admissions are violated, issues of attendance , etc. There are a plethora of problems , but the time is short. So we are looking for ways to mobilise people across the country. There are 13 lakh government schools. Sadly, the allocation of education is only 3.7% of the GDP. We want 6% allocation of the GDP on education.

What concrete steps are being taken by the RTE forum in terms of mobilisation of people?
The RTE forum was constituted when the RTE Act was implemented. We are an advocacy group. We have nine state chapters and with 18 other states, we are in a coalition and we are working with about 10,000 NGOs. Through this connection, we are working on the process of mobilisation. We are involving teacher organisations. We work at the village and block level creating awareness campaigns, social hearings so that people know their rights. This is done at one level. At the other level, we will be giving the government the report. For this, we have taken the help of teachers in schools from different states to create a status report. We are recommending the establishment of teacher training institutes . We want a systemic teacher training module and teacher training institutes. We are mobilising people to send their children to school. Besides, we will be conducting social audits, conducting seminars, etc. Our main aim is to help students get equitable and quality education for all children.
What are your views about the 25% reservation in private schools?
We are looking to change the elitist character of private schools. If we look at facts, we will see that 77% of children come from tough backgrounds. They should be given a chance to quality education. When children from the elite classes interact with their counterparts from conflict zones or from the economically weaker background, rural areas they will come to know of the problems and challenges faced by them. Education is a social tool and is beyond the rich and poor.

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